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An Historical Sketch of the Diocese of Saskatchewan of the Anglican Church of Canada

By W. F. Payton, Archdeacon Emeritus

Prince Albert: The Anglican Diocese of Saskatchewan, 1974.

Chapter 29. Formation of Indian Council--Dean H.V.R. Short--Revision of Constitution and Canons--Changes in Synod patterns--Ordination of Indian Lay Readers--Resignation of Bishop Crump--Election and Consecration of Bishop Short--Appointment of Dean McMulkin and Archdeacon Ahenakew--Reduction in external grants and growth in diocesan revenue--Visit of the Primate--New concerns in Ministry

The years that followed were characterized by a strengthening of the work that had developed during the first half of Bishop Crump's episcopate, as a result of the new channels of communication and action that had been created in various aspects of the work of the church.

A new and significant feature was introduced into the Indian work by the Bishop at the meeting of the Indian lay readers at St. Luke's House, Meadow Lake, in the Spring of 1966. The Bishop suggested to the members the formation of an Indian Council in order to assist him in the administration of the Indian work. The Bishop explained that he would welcome the advice and consultation which representatives of the Indian clergy and laity could afford him, in considering such subjects as the placement of personnel on the Reserves, and the general administration of the work among the Indian people. Bishop Crump expressed his willingness to share his episcopal responsibility with the Indian Council in order to provide a more effective and relevant answer to the many problems which were in need of solution at this time in the work of the church among them. The Bishop's offer was discussed at considerable length, with the result that a council was formed on that occasion for the purpose of giving the Bishop the help and advice that he sought, and supporting him in the work of the church among the Indian people. This pattern and policy resulted in greatly increased communication and a much improved understanding on the part of the Indian congregations of the situations in which they were involved, and of the means that were being used in order to solve the problems. The Indian Council was formally approved at the Synod of 1969 and officially recognized as a constituent part of the Diocese. At that time membership was recommended as consisting of four clergy and six laity, with an additional non-Indian as an official observer, and the Bishop having the right to add new members according to his discretion. The original formation of the Indian Council at Meadow Lake showed insight on the part both of the Bishop and of the Indian representatives, and to some extent anticipated problems which had not as yet arisen, but which in the broader field of politics and education were in later years to provide many problems for administrators and those responsible for communication.

The vexed problem of finding a house suitable for the Bishop's residence was also resolved in 1966, when final approval was given to the purchase of a house at 427-21st Street West. The Cathedral congregation also purchased a new residence at 1904-1st Avenue East to serve as the residence for the Dean. Both the Diocesan and the Cathedral Committees had spent a long time in seeking to find properties that were both adequate and convenient, and it was a happy solution for all concerned when the new properties were finally agreed upon and purchased.

At the end of the Summer of 1966, Archdeacon W. F. Payton tendered his resignation as Archdeacon of Prince Albert and secretary of the Diocese, in order to accept the position of Protestant Chaplain at Saskatchewan Penitentiary. Bishop Crump presided at a testimonial dinner in honour of the Archdeacon at which representatives were present from many of the parishes in the Diocese. At the dinner the Bishop announced that he was appointing Archdeacon Payton as Archdeacon Emeritus of the Diocese, and also creating [156/157] a new Canonry to be named in honor of the Archdeacon, and his 25 years of faithful service to the Diocese. Upon the resignation of the Archdeacon becoming effective on September 1st, Rev. A. C. Smith became secretary-treasurer of the Diocese.

Archdeacon Payton succeeded Canon R. J. Rainbow as Protestant Chaplain, who had resigned from that position and became Rector of the Parish of Kinistino. However, as a result of ill health, Canon Rainbow died not long after his appointment to Kinistino, after rendering valuable and effective service in the Parish of Melfort and at the Penitentiary. In 1970 Archdeacon Payton was appointed Regional Chaplain for the Prairie Region by the Canadian Penitentiary Service, involving the supervision of the Chaplaincy work in the three Prairie Provinces, and the nomination and supervision of Honorary Chaplains in the Release Centres under the Federal jurisdiction.

Dean H. V. R. Short was appointed by the Bishop as Archdeacon of Prince Albert shortly after the vacancy occurred, in order to satisfy the canonical requirements of the office in the administration of the Diocese. Bishop Crump also announced the appointment of the Reverend W. E. Bramwell, Principal for many years of the Indian Residential School, to the newly created Canonry.

A one-day Synod was held in March, 1967, for routine business and the election of delegates to General and Provincial Synods. The special speaker at this session was Mr. Rex King, Director of the Anglican Counselling Service. Preparations were in progress for a new revision of the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese, under the chairmanship of the Chancellor, Mr. J. H. Clyne Harradence. At the bishop's suggestion, the work entailed in the revision was undertaken by a special committee outside the regular Executive Committee of the Diocese, in order to introduce as many fresh and up-to-date ideas as it might be possible to incorporate in the proposed revision.

This work was completed in time for presentation to the Synod which met in April 1969- At that time the new revision was received and, as amended by Synod, was authorized for experimental use for two years. It is noteworthy that in the acceptance of the revision most changes took place in the first twenty-one Canons, all of which were adopted by the Synod without dissension.

The meetings, which lasted for three days, constituted the 50th Synod of the Diocese of Saskatchewan, and the 19th since the division from Saskatoon. The conventional pattern was changed somewhat in that, instead of the Bishop presenting a charge, the delegates had been forwarded a document entitled "Does the Church in the Diocese of Saskatchewan Really Care?" The contents of the document were presented for consultation between the Synod and the Bishop in five sections--each of which was to provide the basis for discussion groups on particular aspects of the work of the church.

In addition to the official delegates to the Synod, official observers were present from the Diocese of Saskatoon and the Diocese of Qu'Appelle, each including a clerical and lay delegate, and the Rev. Father A. St. Pierre, representing the Roman Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert. The Rev. A. H. E. Barber represented the Prince Albert Presbytery of the United Church of Canada. Also present as an official observer was Mr. William J. Rowe of the Department of Municipal Affairs, Regina, who in the course of the Synod received official approval of his appointment as Executive Secretary of the Diocese, to commence on September 1st, 1969.

The subjects under discussion in the general theme of the presentation were introduced by the Bishop by reference to the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference in 1968. These included an attack on the world hunger problem; a world plan for mutual responsibility and interdependence; a reappraisal [157/158] of the responsibility of the Anglican Communion in discharging its share of the mission of Christ to the world; a world study of the ordained ministry of the church in all its aspects, including the participation of women; a study in faith, prayer and worship; a study on peace, human unity and the use of power. These subjects were the basis of those presented to the Synod which were as follows: 1) Renewal of Ministry; 2) Renewal of Unity in the Church; 3) the Indian work of the Diocese; 4) the Restructuring of the Administrative Work of the Diocese; 5) the Youth Work in the Diocese. Each of these challenges was presented to the Synod with material which underlined the pressing needs for consideration of each of these phases of church life. Valuable substantive resolutions were presented as a result of the discussion in these matters, some to be considered by the Executive Committee, and others to be forwarded to General Synod and other appropriate authorities. All indicated the intense interest that had been engendered by the consultation with the Bishop in these matters, and all suggested that constructive programs to improve the ministry of the church would be undertaken by every individual who had participated at the Synod. As a matter of record, there were thirty-one clergy, fifty-two lay delegates, and six official observers present and participating in the discussions which had taken place.

Since this was Bishop Crump's last Synod, it is significant to note that during the years of his episcopate there had been thirty-three building operations, the vast majority of which were new. A few had been reconstructed, and a few others moved to new locations. The total cost of all these operations had been slightly over 5500,000.00, of which there was only $60,000.00 owing at the time of the 1969 Synod. As a result of the action of M.S.C.C. in 1967, the Bishop had to struggle with the prospect of gradually decreased grants for white work within the Diocese. The prospect was that in 1970, and the years that followed, only those parishes and missions that had Native work associated with them were to receive help for the maintenance of their ministry. As a consequence, the whole responsibility of parishes in financial matters were under the necessity of re-examination, with a view to increasing parish support, and where necessary the combination of existing parishes in order that they might become entirely self-supporting.

A significant achievement of the Bishop during his years in office was the enrichment of the ministry of the church by the ordination of Indian lay readers who had both by attendance at the Lay Readers School and private instruction, proved themselves worthy and capable of undertaking leadership on their own Reserves. The first to be so recognized was Andrew Ahenakew of Sandy Lake who was ordained Deacon at Sandy Lake on December 1st, 1958 and Priested at St. Alban's Cathedral in May I960. So capable he proved in providing leadership for the Indian missions that he was made a Canon on May 25th, 1969. To him was entrusted the supervision of Indian missions, particularly in the North, and the guidance of the lay readers in the various missions. Also ordained at Stanley Mission by Bishop Hives of Keewatin on June 29th in 1967, on behalf of Bishop Crump, were Gordon Ahenakew, Phillip John Charles, and Henry Cook. They were ordained Priests at the Cathedral in December 1969, and each has in his own way contributed to the growth of the spiritual life of the Indian missions, and to the development and growth of unity within the Diocese. Rev. Phillip John Charles continues to serve in the Stanley Mission, and Rev. Henry Cook at Pelican Narrows. Rev. Gordon Ahenakew served first at Big White fish reserve and is now in charge of the work at Sandy Lake. Rev. Charles Halkett was ordained on May 1st, 1970 and Priested in 1971, and began his work at Montreal Lake and is now serving at Cumberland House. Their devotion and service are indicative of the value of the Indian Lay Readers School and of the capability [158/159] of Indian people not only to provide a ministry, but also to provide leadership for the whole Diocese.

In 1970 Bishop Crump resigned as Bishop of the Diocese, his resignation to become effective in September. He then retired with his wife to his new home in Ontario where he still enjoys a well-earned but nonetheless active retirement.

On October 19th a special session of the Synod was convened for the purpose of electing a Bishop, under the chairmanship of the Dean, the Very Reverend H. V. R. Short. Twenty-eight clergy and eighty-two laity were certified as delegates before the balloting commenced. Five ballots were necessary before an election was announced, Dean Short having received a majority of votes both from the Clergy and the laity. Archdeacon E. S. Light, the other principle contender, asked that his name now be withdrawn and that the vote be made unanimous in favor of the Dean.

Dean Short, in a few well chosen words, offered his acceptance and was given a standing ovation. The theme chosen by Dean Short was "Your Servant for Jesus' Sake".

The service of consecration for the Bishop elect took place at St. Alban's Cathedral on Advent Sunday, November 29th, 1970, the consecrating Bishop being the Most Reverend G. F. C. Jackson, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land, and Bishop of Qu'Appelle. By coincidence, the following day Archbishop Jackson presided at the consecration of the Dean of Saskatoon, Douglas Albert Ford, as Bishop of Saskatoon.

Bishop Short was enthroned in the Cathedral on the same day as his consecration, and the congregations at both services were both large and fully representative of the parishes and missions of the Diocese.

Bishop Short brought to his new task a wealth of knowledge and a widely diversified experience. Born in Toronto, he had been educated there and graduated from Trinity College in the University of Toronto with the Degrees of B.A., L.Th., B.D., and was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity upon his elevation to the position as Dean of Saskatchewan. Bishop Short was ordained in the Diocese of Toronto as a Deacon in 1943 and as a Priest in 1944, and served until 1946 as the Curate at the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in the city. In 1946 he was appointed Junior Chaplain to Coventry Cathedral from which position he returned to act as lecturer at Trinity College in 1947. There he became Dean of Residence in 1949, and in 1951 became Rector of the Parish of Cochrane in the Diocese of Moosonee. In 1956 he was chosen as Rector of St. Barnabas Church, St. Catherines, in the Diocese of Niagara, and during his service there became examining chaplain to the Bishop, and served on the Executive Commitee of the Diocese, and General Synod committees on Marriage, Theological Education, Canon Law, Doctrine and Worship, and the joint commission on Worship, and as liturgical consultant for the Anglican Consultative Council. Appointed a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral in 1962, he resigned to become the Dean of Saskatchewan and Rector of St. Alban's in 1963.

Among the General Synod activities in which Bishop Short took part was the preparation of the resolution which he moved in the General Synod which resulted in the passage of the new Prayer Book without debate in 1959. He still continues to serve the General Synod committees as chairman on the Committee of Doctrine and Worship, and Marriage and related matters. In the Provincial Synod he is likewise chairman of the Constitution and Canons Committee and a member of the Theological Education Committee. As has already been mentioned, he has shown a keen interest in the educational programs in the City of Prince Albert, and is at present the President of the Prince Albert Community College.

[160] The Diocese of Niagara, which is a prayer companion Diocese to the Diocese of Saskatchewan, once again provided the Diocese with a Dean with the appointment on the 17th of February 1971 of the Rev. John H. McMulkin as Dean of the Diocese and Rector of the Cathedral. Dean McMulkin was ordained Deacon in 1954 and Priest in 1955, and at the time of his appointment was a Canon of the Diocese of Niagara and Rector of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Hamilton, Ontario. Since his arrival in the Diocese, the new Dean has been active in both Parish and Diocesan Councils, and is also contributing of his wealth of experience to the growth of the community of Prince Albert itself. He was chosen as chairman of the committee to commemorate the Centennial of the Diocese in 1974.

One of the first official acts of Bishop Short was the appointment of Canon Andrew Ahenakew as Archdeacon of Saskatchewan on January 13th, 1971. He has proved a worthy successor to those who preceded him in this office, with a natural aptitude for leadership and the ability to transmit his own strong Christian faith to all who come within the sphere of his influence. In his work as Archdeacon he has enlarged opportunities for visitation and to give counsel and advice to those entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the Indian Missions through the difficult period of modern life.

During the three years of his episcopate, Bishop Short has demonstrated not only his strong Christian convictions but also great administrative ability. His charge to the two Synods over which he has presided have been marked by clarity of thought and the enunciation of fundamental Christian principles, combined with keen powers of observation and insight.

Bishop Short began his first charge to the Synod by reiterating what had been said by earlier Bishops in the Diocese. "The Diocese can easily be divided into two spheres: the Indian work and the white work. It would be all too easy to make this division basic, and to administer the work as though there were two Dioceses under one Bishop. I am deeply concerned that no such basic division should be permitted to develop. We are one Diocese, all of us equally brethren in Christ, all possessing the same fundamental spiritual needs, all equally committed to worship God and serve Him in the world. In our great Anglican tradition diversity is the character of our unity; and in this Diocese we have a marvelous opportunity under God to demonstrate to the world at large and the church in particular, that while recognizing our differences we yet maintain a profound unity in the spirit. Many of our clergy minister to both Indians and whites; and I pray most earnestly that throughout our Diocese we may grow in our acceptance of our responsibility for each other."

The Bishop went on to speak of the need for unity, not only in the sacramental worship of the church, but also in the planning together to meet the needs of new areas which were developing in the Northern areas particularly. He mentioned the possibility of developments in places like Wollaston Lake where it had been foreseen that a town of 4,000 people would be likely to develop in the near future.

A good deal of thought and attention was given to the necessity of utilizing the full resources of the Diocese, both human and material, in order to take full advantage of the opportunities that existed for the service of the church. It was pointed out in the report of the Executive Committee that at that time in 1971, 75% of the revenue of the Diocese came from outside sources, while less than 7% of Diocesan expenditures were used for the outside development of the church in missionary and other activity. This dependence upon external sources was a matter which needed review, and every effort needed to be made in order to safeguard and to maintain the work of the Diocese itself.

[161] One of the suggestions that the Bishop made was that in Northern areas the church must be prepared to work in conjunction and consultation with other church bodies in order to make the wisest and most economical use both of manpower, of money, and in the construction of church buildings.

A resolution was passed by the Synod authorizing the Executive Committee to investigate and, if possible, to negotiate the sale of the Diocesan property surrounding the Synod Office in order that the heavy burden of maintenance might be reduced and the administration of the Diocese undertaken in a less costly manner. At the Synod of 1973 it was reported that no success had been met with in the disposition of Diocesan property, but that the residence at 151-20th Street West had been leased to the Provincial Department of Public Works, and this had to some extent eased a little of the burden in that area. St. Luke's House at Meadow Lake had been compelled to cease operations in June 1971 as a result of a breakdown in the heating facilities. However, as a result of a Winter works program in the Winter of 1972, it had been found possible to reopen the building and it had been rented to the Battleford Alcoholism Rehabilitation Centre to be used and operated for and by Native people. In this manner the Executive Committee had sought to save unnecessary expense and produce income from these two properties in order to offset other charges that were inescapable.

The Synod of 1973 produced figures which were indicative of the trends both in receipts and in expenditures. Under the income from the parishes on Diocesan apportionment the total of $21,656.00 had been realized from the parishes in 1971, and this figure had risen to $26,800.00 in 1972, while the estimated revenue from apportionment in 1973 was expected to be $29,160.00. Over and against these figures was the report that the continuing reduction in grants from the General Synod had resulted in a decrease of over $30,000.00. In 1969 the General Synod had paid to the Diocese over $103,000.00, while in 1973 the grant would amount only to $65,370.00. By this means the members of Synod and the congregations of the Diocese were able to recognize the continual need for providing the means for the maintenance of the work in their midst. To this end an appeal was made that each parish would accept an increase in apportionment of 10% each year until the situation could be stabilized.

The Synod was fortunate and happy to have as its guest the Most Reverend Edward Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Not only did the primate inspire the Synod with his talk on "The Next 100 Years for the Diocese of Saskatchewan," but he afforded much enlightenment to the members of Synod in session when the matters of apportionment were discussed. He pointed out that the National Executive Committee planned distribution three years ahead and that the money received on apportionment was spent first of all for the Overseas work of the church, secondly to assist the Dioceses, and thirdly for the maintenance of the National office staff. He urged that Saskatchewan, along with all other Dioceses, aim at assuming greater responsibility by giving more to the overall work of the church outside its own borders.

He noted that the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund had increased greatly over the past four years and, in turn, the Diocese of Saskatchewan had benefited by grants made to the Parish of La Ronge, and to the Friendship Centre at Spiritwood.

Bishop Short paid tribute during the Synod to the Right Reverend Henry David Martin whose death had occurred just a few months previously. Bishop Martin had for 20 years served as Bishop of the Diocese and presided at the Synods, and had been greatly loved by all who knew him. Another stalwart worker in the Diocese, whose death had also occurred in the previous year, [161/162] was the Ven. George Hedley Holmes, former Canon Residentiary of the Cathedral and Archdeacon of Prince Albert. Bishop Short paid tribute to his work and expressed the sympathy of the Synod to the families of both these men who had been so closely associated with the growth of the Diocese.

The Bishop made reference also to the imminent departure from the Diocese of Mr. David Lawson who for a number of years had been an able and compassionate administrator of the Prince Albert Student Residence. "The Indians in this Diocese," said the Bishop, "had had no better friend than Mr. Lawson since he came to the Residence, and I know that thousands of Indians on the Reserve will learn of his imminent departure with grief. He has been lay reader, a member of Synod, of the Executive Committee of Synod, and of various Synod committees, to all of which he has given unstintingly of his time and talents." Bishop Short also spoke with great appreciation of the work of Miss Edna Eastwood who at the end of April was due to retire from her position as the Bishop's Secretary. Bishop Short said "She has served the Diocese with distinction during the episcopates of Bishop Martin, Bishop Crump and myself. Not only has she striven to be efficient but she has been truly faithful; and this is the highest compliment anyone can receive." The Bishop expressed the sentiments of the whole Synod when he said that it was their prayer that she would enjoy many happy healthy years in retirement.

In his charge to the Synod in 197 3, Bishop Short commended the attention of both the clergy and the laity to some of the matters which were to be considered at the General Synod to be held in May. Among these were the proposed modification of the initiation rite which had been the subject of intensive thought and study throughout the Anglican world. The purpose of this proposed rite was to re-unite the various elements of initiation which had for a number of reasons been separated in one way or another in different parts of the Western church. As a result, baptism in infancy, and confirmation in early adolescence, which had been the order followed in the Anglican Church, would be unified, and the sacramental life of the church would become available to all who were old enough to participate in it. Also to be considered was the recognition of non-episcopal ministries of other churches, and ways and means in which this recognition could be afforded without causing offence and without violating belief in the historic episcopate. Along with this a revised plan of union was to be presented to General Synod for study, and the Bishop commended this to the attention of congregations throughout the Diocese.

The whole question of ministry was discussed by the Bishop with special reference to women in Holy Orders. Commenting on the nature and authority of the ordained ministry, the Bishop pointed out that the power of the clergy is not a power to dominate but a power to serve; and this service is to liberate, not to enslave. In the same way, even as Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life, so the people of God, the body of Christ, exists to minister to the world. We are, said the Bishop, a ministering community.

In commenting upon the qualifications for leadership in the Christian community of faith, Bishop Short went on to speak of the fact that there is room within the ordained ministry for men of experience and devotion who earn their livelihood in secular employment. It was pointed out that this had been particularly true among the Indian population of the Diocese, and the leadership given to their people by these dedicated lay readers and priests has been magnificent. The Bishop dwelt on the agonizing period of growth and development that was taking place among the Indian people [162/163] not only in Saskatchewan but throughout the whole nation. He directed the attention of the Synod to the fact that we are all one in Christ. "The church is not some kind of external organization," he said, "which looks in, albeit with compassion, upon the Indians, but a community of all sorts and conditions of men, who in obedience to our common Lord and Master seek to share each other's burdens. The agony of one is the agony of all. Indian men and women are striving to lead their people towards self-determination and mastery in their own affairs. Their goals are the goals of all their brethren in Christ. There are some who, in a revolutionary fervour, would seek to drive out all the old influences and institutions which have dominated their situation in the past. This we must try to understand, even if we cannot accept such programs in every detail; and this I say to all, both Indian and white.

"Church authorities in this Diocese have no interest whatsoever in acquiring developing, or exercising a coercive power over anyone. But we do firmly insist that all who want to be the church have a right to be the church, and all who desire the ministrations of the Anglican Church have a right to those ministrations."

Present at the Synod on this occasion were seventy-two lay delegates and twenty-one clerical delegates. A report presented to the Synod by the Rev. W. J. Rowe, Executive Secretary, showed that the total number of congregations within the Diocese at the present time numbered seventy-two. These were made up of twenty-four congregations distributed among ten self-supporting parishes; fifteen Indian missions including twenty-seven congregations; eight white missions combined with Indian missions, totalling thirteen congregations; and four white missions containing eight congregations. Ministering to these congregations were twenty-six clergy, and two clergy on leave of absence.

While the area administered by these clergy, and covered by these congregations, is greatly diminished from the territory of the original Diocese of Saskatchewan, nevertheless it is a herculean task. In spite of modern methods of communication and transportation, the same spirit of dedication is required as characterized the first missionaries one hundred years ago, the same self-sacrifice, and the same sense of vocation. Proof that these qualities do indeed exist among us, from the Bishop to the humblest layman or child, is evidenced by the meaningful ministry being exercised in every parish and mission, the life of the Spirit being abundantly evident in the growth of Christian love and understanding, and the cheerful acceptance of constantly increasing responsibilities in what so often appears to be an indifferent world.

It was said of the first Bishop--Bishop McLean--that to him obstacles were merely things to be overcome! It is a matter of profound thanksgiving to God that tremendous obstacles of many kinds have been overcome in the past, and the same will be true of the future. The story of the Acts of the Apostles reveals what happened when a handful of men and women confronted the world for the first time with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and 'turned it upside down'. As God has blessed the courage and devotion of his servants in the past hundred years in the Diocese of Saskatchewan, so will His promised power and amazing grace nerve our hearts and strengthen our arms to accomplish His will and purpose for us.

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